Sean Silverthorne has a good post on the car czar concept being floated as a lifesaver for Detroit. He raises a number of the issues, but hones in on the idea of a political appointee being in charge of the U.S. car business. Is a political appointee running the car companies a good idea? he asks.
Research suggests not. As Shankar Vedantam outlines in Who are the Better Managers -- Political Appointees or Career Bureaucrats?
the bureaucrats whipped the politicals: Programs administered by civil servants were significantly more likely to display better strategic planning, program design, financial oversight -- and results. These findings, remember, were based on the Bush administration's own evaluation system -- the Program Assessment Rating Tool, administered by the Office of Management and Budget.This was true even though on average, the political appointees were better educated and had stellar resumes, and looked like better candidates.
For businesses, the parallel is clear -- look inside the organization to get the performance you want.